As a landlord, you should do your best to find tenants who will take good care of your rentals. By doing so, you can maintain the value of your property and extend the life expectancy of your appliances and other home components. 

However, realistically speaking, not all tenants are will take the necessary steps to care for the property. For this reason, you should be proactive to minimize the occurrences and gravity of damage to your rental. 

Keep reading to learn some proactive tips that can help you lessen the impact of tenant damages to your rental. 

1. Be proactive about maintaining your property.

No one will care more about your property than you. Knowing this, you must take the necessary steps to ensure your property stays in its best condition. This will allow you to ensure that your property is marketable throughout the years whether the economy is booming or in a period of a slump. You can accomplish this by incorporating the following practices into your routine: 

Conduct regular inspections with a checklist.

protect rental property

When conducting regular property inspections, keep a checklist to ensure that you don’t forget essential areas. This is the most efficient way for you to keep a record of your inspections.    Primarily, you will want to look for deferred maintenance items that may require attention during the Tenant’s occupancy.  These will typically include looking for: 

  • Slow water leaks around all plumbing fixtures
  • Broken Caulking around tub and shower enclosures
  • Inoperable or disabled Smoke and CO detectors
  • Any apparent lease violations such as smoking, unauthorized pets, or unauthorized roommates

By proactively checking for these deferred maintenance items you are minimizing your exposure to the possibility of expensive repairs.   

Be vigilant during tenant move-ins and move-outs

Often property damage takes place during tenant move-ins and move-outs. As a property owner, encourage your tenants to use furniture sliders. This can reduce the damage you face to your floor, carpets, and walls.  

2. Be thorough during tenant screening.

When interviewing prospective tenants, keep an eye out for red flags. Tenant screening can reveal potential problems so that you can prevent them from ruining your property. When screening a prospective tenant, you should make sure to do the following things:

Evaluate the applicant’s rental history

Check to see if the prospective tenant changes rentals every few months. Make sure to learn why they do this as they may be trying to escape facing the consequences of property damage. You can verify the real reason by checking with their previous rental owners. This is a sensible way to learn if the prospect can be relied upon to take good care of your rental unit.

Always run a criminal background check

To ensure that your other tenants and your property are safe, running a background check is important.

tenant negligence water damage

You don’t want your rental home to become damaged or the center for illegal activities. You also don’t want to risk sheltering a criminal in your rental unit or becoming an accessory to their criminal activities in any way.

Check if they have an eviction record

If a prospect has been previously evicted from a rental you’ll want to find out why. They may have caused serious property damage to the home. In this case, you’ll want to avoid having them on your property as they are more likely to do this again. This will save you from having to evict them from your property as well

3. Encourage tenant accountability when it comes to property maintenance

Emphasize the importance of taking care of the rental unit to your tenants. You can do this in a variety of ways: 

Ask for a security deposit

To incentivize the tenant to cause as little damage as possible, a security deposit is a great incentive. Make sure that this is high enough to warrant the desire to obtain a refund in full. If it’s too low, it will defeat the purpose since the tenant will not care much if it’s returned or not.

Include clear maintenance policies in your lease

Carefully outline your tenant’s maintenance duties in the lease agreement. This way,  they can’t claim they didn’t know their responsibilities. Include who is in charge of repairs to avoid conflicts.

Develop a respectful relationship with your tenants

Tenants are much more likely to take care of the property if they have a good relationship with you.

accidental damage by tenant

Focus on building a good relationship with your tenants for this reason. Look after the rental unit well out of genuine respect for you is even better than them doing so just out of obligation.


Trusting your tenants to lessen property damage out of a sense of duty is a hopeful sentiment. However, it’s not a good strategy. To protect your property, encourage your tenants to report all property damage and necessary maintenance.  

Rather than allowing problems to fester in the background, you’ll be able to meet them head-on. Additionally, your proactive approach is key in keeping your rental property attractive in the years to come.

For more help with maintaining the value of your rental property, consider hiring a professional property manager. At T-Square Properties, we inspect for and conduct preventative maintenance to make sure that our client’s properties are always in their best shape. Contact us to learn how we can do the same for you!

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